Bangalore corporation adds to cable ops' woes

BANGALORE: The cup of woes overfloweth for the Bangalore cable operators and harassed viewers who are likely to miss out on the Asia cup if the Bangalore City Corporation (BCC) has its way. The corporation has given just three days to cable operators to remove illegal cables using street lights, after which they have threatened to chop them off and initiate strict action against the defaulters.


On the day the Karnataka chief minister N Dharam Singh gave some reprieve to the operators by asking the state government run power utility Bangalore Electric Supply Company (Bescom) to stop cutting cables, the BCC has had its shot at the cable operators.

Singh directed Bescom to carry out streetwise inspection of loose wires and to resort to cutting only after the operator fails to act within 20 days.

The cable operators associations in turn have asked all the operators to inspect and spruce up their connections. The cable operators have agreed to sit down and make any improvements implement safety measures over and above those prevalent in the industry if any are suggested by the authorities.

Unconfirmed industry sources say that some cable cutting had occurred yesterday, but, on a much lower scale as compared to the earlier phase when Bescom was indiscriminate in its "frenzy".

Newspaper reports say Bescom has agreed to abide by a Bangalore city court ruling. Industry sources allege that Zee has even claimed damages from bescom. Zee representatives had not accompanied the delegates who met the chief minister yesterday, though Zee was one of the signatories to the memorandum submitted to Bescom on 14 July.

One of the positives of this sad happening is that for once all the cable operators and MSOs were united. We have a common platform now. This episode has also opened our eyes and is a step towards getting ourselves fully organized and committed to customer safety says Ponnacha, spokesman for the Karnataka State Cable TV Association. Laying of fibre optic cables is being considered across Karnataka, including villages, instead of the co-axial cables for all new connections is one of the first steps. This will ensure quality transmission and enhance safety for the end user. We are also planning to approach the government and financial institutions for assistance, Ponnacha says.

Regarding the BCC threat, Ponnacha said cable operators would like to sort out problems directly and that they are wiling to implement any changes and adopt any measures or changes suggested by the power utility company. We shall try and work out the modalities with them, he said, while leaving for a meeting with some cable operators, rather than confronting them with court orders etc."

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